You have about 40,000 thoughts every day. Most of your thoughts are unconscious, don’t remember, or quickly dissipate. It is difficult to structure all these thoughts, even when you think about them consciously. One of the ways to slow down this flow of thoughts to create some structure is to write. But why is writing good for you? In this blog I’ll explain it further.
The use of writing
- Writing works well because it gives you a grip on your thoughts, they become “real” and you add structure to them.
- Suppose you want to plan something such as a behavioural change, for example: exercising more often. Just thinking about it is not enough. You will notice that such a plan only works effectively if you put your thoughts on paper, and you literally see your goals in front of you (Pilarczyk, 2017).
- A study by the University of Twente shows that writing about yourself is effective in depression because it reduces the complaints.
- Writing also helps to process (traumatic) memories, according to research from the University of Texas.
- Writing provides reflection, self-insight and personal development. You take the time to process information and think about it carefully.
- By writing you memorize information better, and you can read it again if you have forgotten something.
- By noting down information, you have a visual reminder for yourself. You can hang this up somewhere or set it up as a reminder on your phone so that you are regularly reminded yourself if necessary.
- Do you prefer writing on paper over writing digitally? This can contribute to the development of your brain and motor skills because writing with pen and paper is a complex action that involves muscles from all over your body.
How do you start writing?
Find a quiet place to sit down and take the time to write down your thoughts, whether it is on a laptop, smartphone or on a piece of paper. Let your thoughts run free and write down what’s relevant to you. When you write things down, it’s good to realise that there is no right or wrong! These are your own personal notes and thoughts, and there is no judgement attached to them. Find it difficult to write? You can also visualize your thoughts through drawings, diagrams or illustrations.
When can you write things down?
Writing things down is useful in different situations. For example, consider the following
- Keeping a diary: In a diary you reflect on the day by writing about it. You could choose a specific theme for your diary, for example a gratitude journal or a positivity journal.
- To-do list: When you write down the things you have to do, there is a lower chance of you forgetting them and more space for other things. You can read more about the advantages of a to-do list here.
- Setting goals: Write down your goals as clear, specific and detailed as possible. By writing down all the details, you visualize them and the goals are registered in your brains, or even your subconsciousness (Pilarczyk, 2017).
- Making plans: This is where the agenda or Daily Planner in the NiceDay app comes in handy. Write down your plans in specific terms and set a reminder that will help you remember your plans. You don’t have to remember everything by yourself!
- After a session: are you seeing a therapist or receiving coaching? By making notes after finishing a session you consciously reflect on what has been discussed by writing it down in your own words. This allows you to better understand and remember the information. It also improves your own influence, helps to reflect and contributes to your process.
- After a good conversation with a loved one: When you have had a good conversation with a loved one, such as a friend, family member or colleague, it can help to write down the most valuable information you discussed. You can then read this information again when it is relevant. Especially when it was a long conversation or when a lot of emotions were involved, it can be hard to remember information. You can use a journal or the NiceDay app to write it down.
Tip! Set a diary reminder in the NiceDay app, that helps remind you to write down something every day. No matter how big or small!